Roundtable: Potential Trades for the Lakers in the 2019 NBA Draft

2019 NBA Draft
June 23, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka during the introduction of newly drafted player Lonzo Ball at Toyota Sports Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers were major winners in the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, moving from the 11th pick to the 4th pick. What they do with the pick is now in their hands, but a few of us decided to figure out some trade ideas that the Lakers may make.

Dillon’s proposal
Lakers get: Bradley Beal
Wizards get: Pick 4, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, 2020 first rounder

Kyle: So I honestly don’t know who says no here…

Honi: Yeah that’s a solid haul for the Wizards. Getting two first round picks, at least one of them is a really good one and also Ingram as a great prospect. They need to rebuild but I’m not sure they know that.

Dillon: Okay, I’m gonna preface this by saying I wouldn’t do this deal until after free agency, just because of the cap situation. However, if the Lakers got a sense that they might strike out, adding Beal should be the focus, he’s a stud and would compliment LeBron and Lonzo really well.

Kyle: I think all of these deals work around the caveat that the Lakers strike out in free agency. The biggest reason for that would likely be the uncertainty of who is in control in the front office from the agent’s perspective. But Honi is right, the Wizards need to get things going on a rebuild and shed some salary.

Honi: That to me is as good of a haul as the Wizards can get for Beal if they want to go full rebuild. They get a stud young prospect and picks they can either use to get talent or to get off John Wall’s contract. On the Lakers side, losing Ingram hurts but Beal might be as perfect of a fit next to LeBron as there is in the league. He can shoot, he can run off screens, and he can run an offense. It’s the perfect trifecta offensively as a wing.

Kyle: The only real issue from the Wizards side is Ingram’s health, but the picks more than make up for that on their end.

Walt: With Wall likely never being the same, coming off one of their worst years ever, and the Ernie Grunfeld era ending, it’s time for the Wizards to reset and get ahead if possible. Ingram’s the prize. Combine him with a Culver or Hunter and the ninth pick and you’re cooking. Beal would be one of the most complementary pieces LeBron’s ever had and he’d do wonders for Vogel’s offense.

Kyle: I’m glad you brought that up, Beal is THE perfect fit next to LeBron.

Dillon: If Beal was a free agent he’d probably be third or fourth on my list of targets behind like only KD and Kawhi definitively.

Honi: The only concern here is if it doesn’t work out, the Lakers have traded three significant assets (and Hart, who we shouldn’t undersell even if his ceiling is much lower) and we’re in the same position as the aftermath of the Dwight Howard and Steve Nash trades. That said, I think it’s worth whatever risk that is because of all the reasons we outlined. And you must take chances when you have LeBron on your team.

2019 NBA Draft
Dec 10, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) defends a shot by Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson (0) in the first half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Honi’s proposal
Heat get: 4th pick and Kyle Kuzma
Lakers get: Josh Richardson

Kyle: I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this one because I haven’t watched the Heat in a while, but why did you propose this, Honi?

Honi: So just to introduce this one, I think Richardson, like Beal, is a really perfect fit on this roster, especially with LeBron. He’s not as good of a shooter but he’s very capable and he’s a legitimate stud defender on the perimeter. More importantly, he might be on the best value deal in the league. He’s being paid about 10.1 million dollars this year, about 10.8 next year and then has a player option for 11.6 the next year. Kuzma’s a really capable scorer but he hasn’t shown enough in other parts of his game for me to think he’ll be what the team truly needs to contend. Richardson gives you shooting and defense and still lets you pursue a star free agent.

Kyle: Cap flexibility is huge for the Lakers, assuming that they aren’t going to strike out in free agency. They probably wouldn’t be able to afford Durant with Richardson on the books, but maybe Kemba or someone like that?

Honi: Even if they want to get a guy like Durant, it’s going to be a lot easier to fit Richardson in the cap than someone else but they would definitely need to clear room by trading others

Walt: A Josh Richardson/Lonzo Ball backcourt is JAIL. The Lakers would have the best defensive backcourt in the league. The only concern is years and money for Richardson as it relates to the next name they add. Kuz gets to keep the brand going strong in Miami and they have been known to get their guys in “world class shape” so we may see his game go to another level down there. The Heat are also another team on the cusp of resetting, but they’ve proven they can insert young guys and do a little winning as well. Kuz and likely Darius Garland? could fit in and help the rest of their roster

Honi: I definitely struggled with wondering if the Heat would do this trade. The fourth pick obviously has a lot of value and Kuzma’s not chopped liver but Richardson is probably their best player and he’s on a bargain contract.

Dillon: I do love the Richardson fit with the Lakers, definitely. He’s still young enough that there could be improvements in his game but he’s already capable of being a producer on a good team. My only concern with this deal is if the Lakers are really getting enough back for what they’re sending. Kuzma has his limitations but he’s still an above average player on a good contract, and while this draft class isn’t as deep as recent years, there are still incredibly talented players to be had with the 4th pick.

Walt’s proposal
Lakers get: O.G. Anunoby and Pat McCaw
Raptors get: Pick four and Kyle Kuzma

Dillon: The Lakers would be losing an appendix in this deal, as well, cannot forget that.

Honi: Really crucial detail.

Kyle: Too soon, Dillon…

From a roster continuity standpoint, I don’t really see why the Raptors would do this. I suppose it also depends on what happens with free agency from their perspective.

Walt: Is it fine to do it with Kawhi leaving in mind?

Kyle: That depends on what their future plans are and really depends on the outcome of the Eastern Conference finals.

Honi: I go the other way. O.G. is a nice player I would love to have on my team, but he hasn’t shown enough for me to think he’s worth the fourth pick and a nice young player in Kuzma. McCaw is kind of a non-entity for me in this. I’m not much of a believer in him.

Dillon: I think the Raptors would jump all over this, honestly. I get they probably like OG the most out of their young guys, and rightfully so, but being able to get a potential Jarrett Culver or Darius Garland would be too difficult for them to pass up, on top of getting Kuzma.

Honi: O.G. is a legit defender but that’s really the only reliable NBA skill we’ve seen from him so far

Kyle: O.G is a guy who would fit really well with the way that Frank Vogel tends to approach the game.

Honi: That’s definitely true. And he’s really switchy defensively which is always a plus. I consider him a liability offensively though.

Walt: I like OG because he’s young enough as a prospect, but has played in big enough games to have a solid role for the Lakers if he’s healthy. McCaw is relatively young too and could help fill out the roster for cheap if big moves get made. OG is cost-controlled too and once the LeBron era ends, they’ll need some players.

2019 NBA Draft
Nov 17, 2018; Orlando, FL, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Lance Stephenson (6) fouls Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) on his drive to the basket during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle’s proposal
Lakers get: Aaron Gordon
Magic get: Pick four, Isaac Bonga, Moe Wagner, 2022 second round pick

Dillon: I really like Aaron Gordon, and I REALLY like the idea of not giving up any of the top young guys. A lineup with Lonzo/Hart/Ingram/LeBron/Gordon would be full of versatility and a ton of fun. But I do wonder if Aaron Gordon is a player that is worth giving up the chance at a max free agent for.

Honi: Yeah this would only happen as a last resort in my mind. I’m not crazy about Gordon but he’s a nice player. He gives you defensive versatility and decent shooting. His contract is a lot these next couple of years though, although it descends as it goes on.

Kyle: The only reasoning for Gordon is that he would be a backup plan in case the team strikes out in free agency. Gordon is a cheap enough contract that you can find another guy on a good contract (maybe even doing a Kuzma for Richardson swap with the Heat), and Gordon’s salary DECREASES as the years go on. His contract was front loaded. He was also previously coached by Vogel.

Honi: The trade’s value on the surface is really good for the Lakers, I think. It’s effectively Gordon for the 4th pick which I would love at any other point. But as Dillon said, the opportunity cost is really high for the rest of the summer. I would venture to say that a trade like this happening would mean that the Lakers had a pretty disappointing offseason given the expectations. I do think it makes sense from the Magic side because of Isaac and Bamba. They could move on from Gordon, save a lot of money and still keep the bulk of their young talent

Kyle: Giving up Bonga and Wagner is important since it offsets roughly 2.5 million from the Gordon contract, and by the end of the deal he’ll be a less than 14 million in a growing cap. But you’re right, it would be disappointing compared to the expectations.

Walt: Gordon and Vogel uniting with this roster would be loads of fun. I do wonder if the Magic ready to rebuild again after a year that was largely a success compared to the last few. They will really have to love one of the prospects 4 or lower and they’ll have to find a way to fit Wagner and Bamba, which could be tricky

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